Tornado damage in Van Vleck, Texas on Feb. 14, 2017
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Following damage surveys, the National Weather Service has determined that an EF-2 tornado struck the Bridlewood Estates subdivision in Fort Bend County, an EF-1 tornado struck the southeast Texas town of Van Vleck while EF-0 tornadoes struck in Stafford near Greenbriar Drive and in Wharton with microburst winds.
At least fifteen homes were damaged and one was destroyed in the Van Vleck area of Matagorda County. Three people were able to avoid injury after they were inside a trailer home that turned over in the area. Much of the damage concentrated in the northern part of the town with some minor injuries reported.
The City of Houston Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has activated the Emergency Operations Center to Level III (Increased Readiness) as severe weather moved through southeast Texas.
The National Weather Service had issued a tornado Watch until 1 p.m. Tuesday, although it was canceled by 11:30 a.m. A weather system prompted several severe thunderstorm warnings throughout Tuesday morning.
The Emergency Operations Center, located at the Houston Emergency Center in north Houston, is the central coordination point for City departments and it houses the regional Catastrophic Medical Operations Center (CMOC). The EOC was established to ensure effective coordination between city departments during emergencies and act as the liaison to other local, state and federal agencies engaged in response.
The EOC will be initially staffed by representatives from the Office of Emergency Management, Houston Fire Department, Houston Police Department and Public Works & Engineering Department. Based on the impact of the weather, additional departments may be asked to staff the EOC to manage public health and safety, building inspection, and public information.
Houston residents are encouraged to stay informed of changing conditions by monitoring local media weather broadcasts, NOAA Weather Alert Radio, and by signing up for AlertHouston, the City's emergency notification system at houstontx.gov/emergency.
Additionally, the City encourages residents to sign up for CenterPoint Energy's Power Alert Service, which can keep them informed in the event power outages affect their area. Registration is available for free at CenterPointEnergy.com/PowerAlertService.
Residents should be prepared to seek shelter in the event a Tornado WARNING is issued for their area. The safest place during a tornado is in an interior room on the lowest floor possible, avoiding doors and windows. If you are driving, pull over and seek shelter in a substantial structure. Remember, in an Tornado Warning, you should: Get In. Get Low, and Hold On.
In the event a flash flood warning is issued for their area, Houston residents should seek higher ground, and avoid low-lying areas, such as bayous, creeks and streams, as well as freeway underpasses and low-lying streets. If you cannot see the street, the water is too high for you to drive through. Turn Around, Don't Drown®.
Children at the Lucy's Legacy Child Care Center in Rosenberg were forced to evacuate from that building when it caught fire and they were moved to a safe location with active storms in the area. Rosenberg Fire Department is investigating what caused the fire.
The Brazoria County Sheriff's Office is reporting damage in the western part of the county near Sweeny, including downed trees down, roofs torn off homes and barns, and a trailer home flipped over on FM 524 northwest of Sweeny. Downed trees were also reported near the town of Brazoria.